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The papacy in the fathers

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#41 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 12:19 PM

Actually I believe Kosta is talking about two separate letters. He is saying that the letter in question, using the terms quoted was NOT written to Pope Honorius at all and that it is a forgery, not because of a mistranslation, but because no original Greek version has been produced, only a Latin text that is not believed to have actually been written by St. Maximus.

Kosta then references a second SEPARATE letter (to "Marinos") that provides examples of the hyperbole typical of correspondence of the day, emphasizing that such terms are NOT to be taken literally and do not indicate a belief in primacy as advocated by the Catholic Church, since such terms are also often used when addressing other bishops as well.

I hope that clears up the misunderstanding.

Herman the hopefully helpful Pooh

#42 Ronnie Shakespeare

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 04:21 AM

Actually I believe Kosta is talking about two separate letters. He is saying that the letter in question, using the terms quoted was NOT written to Pope Honorius at all and that it is a forgery, not because of a mistranslation, but because no original Greek version has been produced, only a Latin text that is not believed to have actually been written by St. Maximus.

Kosta then references a second SEPARATE letter (to "Marinos") that provides examples of the hyperbole typical of correspondence of the day, emphasizing that such terms are NOT to be taken literally and do not indicate a belief in primacy as advocated by the Catholic Church, since such terms are also often used when addressing other bishops as well.

I hope that clears up the misunderstanding.

Herman the hopefully helpful Pooh


Hmmn.So what you are saying is that some western church members in the past have resorted to outright lying to promote what they teach. I have read about a simular thing with regards to the council of florence. That the latins Produced writings that contained forgeries regarding the filioque.

#43 Kosta

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:13 AM

Thank-you Herman the helpful pooh for clarifying my comments.

#44 Mary Horey

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 04:24 AM

Well, I would imagine 1) it is because it has been less than half a day and not enough people have read all these posts since we are gearing up for the Christmas holidays and/or 2)we believe him.

I can think of a verse in the NIV Bible that was intentially left out because they didnt like the way it fit with the theology of the people putting the version together. John 5:4 This was from the King James Version. It is ommitted as is the verse number from the NIV. So if it can happen today right under our noses, it happened back then as well.

Paul,
NIV was not the product of the Roman Catholic church, and neither does it bear the imprimatur of the Catholic Church.
The NIV was started by the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals.
I believe the Holy Spirit guides and protects the true Church, the Spouse of Christ, so such things could not have happened "back then."

#45 Mary Horey

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 05:02 AM

Dear Kosta,

Concerning what you wrote:

(1) "The word convenire translated as "must agree" is the huge stretch. Daniel Whelton in his book "Two Paths" disproves this (mis)translation and demonstrates that in a latin dictionary "must agree" doesnt even appear." The reason "must agree" does not appear in Latin dictionaries is because, grammatically, Latin expresses necessity (i.e. "must") by using a gerundive form and the being verb "esse."

(2) "... the faithful who are from all places are obliged to go toward that Church..." I do not wish to be offensive, but, really, if Abee Guetee's translation were correct, that would mean St. Irenaeus is telling the faithful everywhere to move physically toward the city of Rome, which is absurd.

Or, how do you understand "... the faithful who are from all places are obliged to go toward that Church..."?

#46 Mary Horey

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 05:15 AM

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Thank you, Father Matthew, for your intelligent and informative post.

With great respect, please allow me to quote what you posted above:

"Irenaeus' whole statement is:

'For with this Church [the Church at Rome], because of her great authority, it is necessary that every Church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, should agree - because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere.' "


Please allow me to call your attention to the phrase "For with this Church [the Church at Rome], because of her great authority." The first definition for "Authority" in the Encarta English Dictionary (North America) is "right to command, the right or power to enforce rules or give orders." The first definition, as you know, is the most common definition.

Thank you for posting St. Irenaeus' statement that Christians should agree with Rome (first, or primarily) because of her great authority (right to command), and secondly, "because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere."




#47 Mary Horey

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 05:21 AM

Though Peter's name means Rock, this passage is referring to the Rock of his confession of Faith. It does not refer to Peter himself. No man regardless of his eccliastical position is infallible. You can do a search in this forum and get many threads on this topic.


No man is infallible. But the Holy Spirit is. Jesus taught His disciples and the first generation of Christians infallibly while He was on the earth. Does He love us any less, that He would leave us without an infallible teacher who says, "Thus saith the Lord"?

#48 Mary Horey

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 05:25 AM

Dear Kosta,

You posted: "The late great NT biblical scholar and Roman Catholic priest Raymond E. Brown knows exactly what im talking about."

I hope you realize that Raymond E. Brown came very close to being defrocked. He was barred from teaching as a Catholic theologian, and ended up teaching, minus his clerical garbs, in a protestant school. He was a liberal modernist who dismissed much of the Bible and Catholic teaching as myth or fabrication.

#49 Sacha

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 03:32 PM

No man is infallible. But the Holy Spirit is. Jesus taught His disciples and the first generation of Christians infallibly while He was on the earth. Does He love us any less, that He would leave us without an infallible teacher who says, "Thus saith the Lord"?


Simply ascribing to one's beliefs the safeguard of the Holy Spirit is no panacea, I'm afraid. Protestants themselves do this very thing, and they claim the Holy Spirit's approval in the midst of 28,000 denominations. You can see this illogical claim in all of its horror here: http://www.christian...vangelical.html

"We have the Holy Spirit" does not do it for me. I am more inclined to believe if I hear the claim and see the fruit of the Spirit: namely a pattern of transformation of lives and holiness at work. But if instead, rotten and putrid fruit is the outcome, the claim amounts to absolutely nothing.

#50 Paul Cowan

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:23 PM

"Thus saith the Lord"?


Really?

Orthodox do not subscribe to the infallibility of any man even under the "guise" of the holy spirit. Else we have Mormonism. We do subscribe to the infallibility of the church guided by the Holy Spirit. Read your scripture "and it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us."

#51 Michael Stickles

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:10 PM

Thank you for posting St. Irenaeus' statement that Christians should agree with Rome (first, or primarily) because of her great authority (right to command), and secondly, "because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere."


Unfortunately, you've reversed the primacy of the reasons as our then-Fr Dcn Matthew presented them. As he said immediately after the quote from St. Irenaeus (emphasis added):

St Irenaeus explicitly states that the reason all churches must agree with the church in Rome, is not because of some specific heritage of primacy or power, but because that Church faithfully preserves the apostolic tradition - the same that has been 'safeguarded by those who are everywhere'. It is apostolic testimony that grounds authority. Inasmuch as the church in Rome faithfully preserves this, she is to be a church with which all others must agree - not for her own account, but on account of the tradition she maintains and exemplifies.


Thus, a more correct way to render his take regarding what St. Irenaeus meant would be: Christians should agree with Rome (first, or primarily) "because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere," and it is in this fact that her great authority is grounded.

In Christ,
Michael

#52 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:22 PM

We ain't got no infallibility.
We don' need no infallibility.
I don' haf to show you no steeenkin' infallibility!

The whole concept of infallibility is nothing more than a textbook example of circular logic. It is a one-word oxymoron. It does not exist. It is simply unnecessary. We do not need an infallible person, we do not even need an infallible Church. The Truth is the Truth regardless, even if it comes through fallible people.

Nowhere in Holy Scripture is there any mention of anything vaguely resembling "infallibility". The Holy Apostle Paul rails against the very concept when he told us to "test all things". Far from being "infallible", the first action of an Ecumenical Council is to endorse the Truth of the previous councils. If they are "infallible" to begin with, why is this necessary? The Apostles never claimed infallibility. They simply said "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…" Not "It was infallibly proclaimed by the Holy Spirit through us and you better believe it or else…" That is not how the Holy Spirit works.

Put the word "infallible" down, walk away from it. You can live your Faith just fine without it. It is not an Orthodox word.

Herman the infallibly fallible Pooh

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 23 November 2011 - 10:22 PM.


#53 Michael Stickles

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 12:08 AM

No man is infallible. But the Holy Spirit is. Jesus taught His disciples and the first generation of Christians infallibly while He was on the earth. Does He love us any less, that He would leave us without an infallible teacher who says, "Thus saith the Lord"?


You already answered your own question. He did leave us with that infallible teacher - the Holy Spirit.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ...

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

- John 14:26; 16:13-15


The "you" in these verses is plural.

#54 Kosta

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:01 AM

Dear Kosta,

Concerning what you wrote:

(1) "The word convenire translated as "must agree" is the huge stretch. Daniel Whelton in his book "Two Paths" disproves this (mis)translation and demonstrates that in a latin dictionary "must agree" doesnt even appear." The reason "must agree" does not appear in Latin dictionaries is because, grammatically, Latin expresses necessity (i.e. "must") by using a gerundive form and the being verb "esse."

(2) "... the faithful who are from all places are obliged to go toward that Church..." I do not wish to be offensive, but, really, if Abee Guetee's translation were correct, that would mean St. Irenaeus is telling the faithful everywhere to move physically toward the city of Rome, which is absurd.

Or, how do you understand "... the faithful who are from all places are obliged to go toward that Church..."?



What St Irenaeus meant is that many faithful have traveled to Rome for a variety of reason, as its the capital and have deposited their traditions there. Thus all the various traditions of the Apostolic Churches are known about in Rome. This was done by the many martyrs such as Ignatius that were deported to Rome to be executed. Others were there for business or personal reasons, if I remember correctly Polycarp was in Rome when he disputed with Pope Victor over the dating of Pascha, the jewish-christian Father Hegesippus traveled to Rome depositing the tradition of the jerusalem church up to the time of Trajan. Justin Martyr converted in Ephesus, learned christian tradition from the Asia Minor heritage and then moved to Rome and opened a school there. It was these saints that Irenaeous had in mind, and as the capital and center of the empire all roads lead to Rome.

But perhaps the best evidence that this is what Irenaeus had in mind is that canon 9 of the council of Antioch in 341 a.d. basically reiterates the same exact thing about all large prestigious cities in the empire:

Canon IX.

It behoves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought for the whole province; because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis. Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, (according to the ancient canon which prevailed from [the times of] our Fathers) or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject to them. For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with the piety which is incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent on his city; to ordain presbyters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment. But let him undertake nothing further without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others

#55 Sacha

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 06:55 PM

What strikes me is the political relationship between the eastern emperors/patriarchs and the popes in the west at the time of the 5, 6th and 7th ecumenical councils. Even in the great christological debate of Chalcedon, one sees violence (the death of Patriarch Flavian of Constantinople at the hands of Dioscorus, the treatment of John of Antioch), coercion, the constant shuffling of alliances to curry favor and influence. At the time, the East constantly sought out support of the Papacy to further its ends.

This, to me, is a far cry from "it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit" and it is no different than the harshness of Calvin towards those he deemed heretics such as Servetus. Once again, claiming the Holy Spirit with no regard to hard historical facts and fruitfulness/lackthereof, regardless of whether it is protestant, orthodox or catholic, absolutely baffles me.

#56 Mary Horey

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:55 PM

Unfortunately, you've reversed the primacy of the reasons as our then-Fr Dcn Matthew presented them. As he said immediately after the quote from St. Irenaeus (emphasis added):



Thus, a more correct way to render his take regarding what St. Irenaeus meant would be: Christians should agree with Rome (first, or primarily) "because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere," and it is in this fact that her great authority is grounded.

In Christ,
Michael


Dear Michael,

Pardon me for correcting you, but you are referring to the interpretation that Fr Dcn Matthew presented. I am referring to the words of St. Irenaeus himself, as Fr Dcn Matthew presented them. Please look at these words of St. Ireneaus carefully again:

'For with this Church [the Church at Rome], because of her great authority, it is necessary that every Church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, should agree - because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere.' "

These are the words of the Saint.

If we look at them carefully, we see that St. Irenaeus mentions, as his first or primary reason that "it is necessary that every church...should agree" "with this Church [the Church at Rome]" is "because of her great authority."

I simply pointed out that the first definition of authority is "the right to command."

St. Ireneaus recognized this right: the "right to command" of the Church of Rome.

If we claim to have the same faith as this Father, we should recognize that right, too.

Only secondly does the saint say, "because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded...." This apostolic tradition-- which means "teaching that was handed down" (tradition) "by the apostles" (thus "apostolic," not "deposited there by travelers")-- this "apostolic tradition" was (and is) safeguarded by the Holy Spirit.

May the same Holy Spirit enlighten all who read this to see the truth, through the prayers of the Mother of God.

In Christ,

Mary

PS It would have been as impossible in the past, (in St. Ireneaus' day), as in our own for "the faithful everywhere" to "safeguard" "the apostolic tradition" of the Church in Rome (or in any other metropolitan area). I do not see how any person can believe that the faithful everywhere safeguard (or safeguarded) the apostolic tradition of the Church in Rome. If the faithful are the guarantors of the deposit of faith, then how did any heresy (Arianism, Pelagianism, Donatism, etc.) break out among the faithful?

#57 Michael Stickles

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:51 AM

Pardon me for correcting you, but you are referring to the interpretation that Fr Dcn Matthew presented. I am referring to the words of St. Irenaeus himself, as Fr Dcn Matthew presented them.


Apologies for missing that distinction, but I don't think it changes the point at all. I believe that our then-Fr Dcn Matthew's interpretation is, in fact, the correct way to read St. Irenaeus' words. Let us go back to those words, as you quoted them:

'For with this Church [the Church at Rome], because of her great authority, it is necessary that every Church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, should agree - because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere.' "


The fact that St. Irenaeus mentions the safeguarding of tradition second, does not mean it is to him a secondary point compared to the "great authority" of Rome. Rather, that second statement is a reference back to the entire first part - the reason why it is relevant. The first "because" is justifying the necessity of agreement, but the second "because" is justifying the entire first argument. Without the safeguarding of the apostolic tradition by her, the argument referencing her great authority would be irrelevant because that authority would not exist.

Also, if we are to correctly understand Irenaeus' remarks, we must address the context within which they were written. Let us look at the statements immediately preceding this in Irenaeus' writing:

It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to “the perfect” apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops.


In other words, Irenaeus is arguing that agreement with the Church as a whole is necessary - just as our then-Fr Dcn Matthew pointed out - but, rather than justify all the churches through their succession of bishops, he is focusing on Rome as the one which was best-known and had the pre-eminence at that time, and whose succession of bishops he details immediately after the statement we are discussing. In the very next chapter, in continuing his argument, he says:

For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?


It is clear that St. Irenaeus was not arguing for all other churches to be subservient to Rome, but rather that all must be in agreement with the churches - plural - which maintain the apostolic tradition, among which Rome was pre-eminent and thus was the one for whom he detailed the succession of bishops from the apostles.

One last thought:

I simply pointed out that the first definition of authority is "the right to command."


It really is not important what the first definition is of any word, but rather what is the correct definition for its usage in the given context. And I believe it is clear from the context that "right to command" is not what Irenaeus meant by the use of "authority" here (or, more properly, of principalitatem, the Latin word translated as "authority" in this passage, which itself is a translation of the original Greek term which I believe is unfortunately lost to us).

In Christ,
Michael

#58 Kosta

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:32 AM

'For with this Church [the Church at Rome], because of her great authority, it is necessary that every Church, that is, the faithful who are everywhere, should agree - because in her the apostolic tradition has always been safeguarded by those who are everywhere.' "

These are the words of the Saint.

If we look at them carefully, we see that St. Irenaeus mentions, as his first or primary reason that "it is necessary that every church...should agree" "with this Church [the Church at Rome]" "because of her great authority."

I simply pointed out that the first definition of authority is "the right to command."

St. Ireneaus recognized this right: the "right to command" of the Church of Rome.

If we claim to have the same faith as this Father, we should recognize that right, too.



I have disputed this interpretation in the past. The latin translation is simply muddled possibly some words interpolated and made worse when written into english. If St Irenaeus held the belief that the roman church had a 'right to command' , then he would be a hippocrite. When Polycrates quarreled with Pope Victor on the dating of Easter, the pope attempted to excommunicate the Asia Minor churches. It was Irenaeus who interfered writing a strongly written letter to Victor chastising him. Irenaus took the side of Polycrates and told Victor that the Asia Minor churches need not agree with Rome. So Irenaeus did not agree that all must agree with Rome as Victor did.

Secondly theres plenty of writings from Irenaeus which clarifies what he meant. It is Irenaeus who records how Polycarp visited Rome for secular reasons and had a friendly exchange with Pope Anicetus, both tried to persuade each other to change their Easter customs, at the end both agreed that they must follow those that proceeded them. Again this is more evidence which strengthens my previous interpretation, that everyone from everywhere travel to Rome, and i reiterate this is echoed bby the canon of Antioch, "...because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis..."

Irenaeus uses similar phraseology as the controversial quote elsewhere which sheds light on what he meant:

"True knowledge is the doctrine of the Apostles and the ancient constitution of the church throughout all the world. And the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops by which they handed down that church which exists in every place."

Lets compare the above to the controversial passages in context:

"Since, however, it would be very tedious in such a volume as this to reckon up the successions of all the churches....by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, (of the very great, the very ancient and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul). We do this also by pointing out the faith preached to men which comes down to our own time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of neccesity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is the faithful everywhere. For the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those who exist everywhere...'

Isnt it ironic that the latin apologists omit the final sentence in the above passage??? And yes i put the one sentence in paranthesis as one can easily see there is corruption of the passage and possibble interpolations. It makes no sense in the sentence structure and is easier to read if you completely omit it. The sentence ive put in paranthesis would make sense if the phrase read ' of the very great, the very ancient churches". If it was in plural we know he is refering to churches found by apostles and goes with his plural usage of the word successions.

#59 Michael Stickles

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:59 PM

"Since, however, it would be very tedious in such a volume as this to reckon up the successions of all the churches....by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, (of the very great, the very ancient and universally known church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul). We do this also by pointing out the faith preached to men which comes down to our own time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of neccesity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is the faithful everywhere. For the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those who exist everywhere...'

... i put the one sentence in paranthesis as one can easily see there is corruption of the passage and possibble interpolations. It makes no sense in the sentence structure and is easier to read if you completely omit it. The sentence ive put in paranthesis would make sense if the phrase read ' of the very great, the very ancient churches". If it was in plural we know he is refering to churches found by apostles and goes with his plural usage of the word successions.


I have to disagree here. In this particular section, Irenaeus is indeed referring to the church at Rome; rewriting the phrase to say "of the very great, the very ancient churches" would cause this to make less sense in context, not more. Allow me to go through this phrase-by-phrase:

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches,

So, he's not going to cover the legitimacy of all the churches,

we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings;

But he still plans to put together a convincing argument against those in error,

[we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul;

The wording here is awkward which contributes to confusion. Let me redo the punctuation in a way I think will be more clear:

"[we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition - derived from the apostles - of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church..."

as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops.

If we leave out the translator's interpolation - the "by pointing out" - here, I think this will read much more clearly. Then we get:

"[we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition - derived from the apostles - of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church ... as also the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the succession of bishops."

In other words, he is saying that the tradition of this one church - the church at Rome - is "the faith preached to men which comes down to our time", and he will support that by listing their succession of bishops, rather than weary his readers with showing the succession leading to all bishops everywhere. The transmission of the faith through the succession of bishops is his primary concern here.

It is quite clear that Irenaeus could have made his argument with any of the ancient churches (he explicitly refers to the church at Ephesus in the next chapter), but he is limiting himself to one church here for brevity's sake, and simply chooses Rome because of its fame and pre-eminence at that time.

In Christ,
Michael

#60 Kosta

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 11:21 AM

Thanks Michael, thats definately more clear. I'm actually surprised that the quote from St Irenaeus is still used so much by latin apologists.




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